It’s that time of the year again. No, not the tax return yet – though that one is looming large too. It’s autumn here in Australia, and with autumn comes, inevitably, winter. While, unlike in the Northern hemisphere, winter in Down Under does not mean Christmas and gingerbread (but rather five consecutive month of rain and inefficient heating, in Melbourne anyway), it is time for warming stews and all sorts of comfort food. Ironically, I feel the cold much more since moving from Germany to Australia, which is probably due to the less than perfect insulation of houses around here. All the more reason to tuck into a steaming bowl of my warming winter cabbage stew, which features all the beauties of the season – potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, …yes, and cabbage. You saw that coming, didn’t you?
Cabbage is generally not a vegetable that people – no matter if vegan or omnivore – are especially excited about. Grossly underrepresented in fine dining spots and hipster cafés alike, cabbage often leads a desolate existence, wilting away in the supermarket next to its en-vogue cousins kale and cauliflower. You don’t see many hashtags saying #cabbageyeah, and it is admittedly not the first veggie I seek out when I visit the farmer’s market. In short, the chances of me ever making cabbage stew were ridiculously low. Not so much because I disliked it but rather because up until recently, it was not a vegetable that occurred to me.
A mistake indeed, as it turned out. Luckily for me (even though I thought it was unlucky at first), my organic vegetable delivery box last week featured one whole head of a drumhead cabbage. Neatly packed in cling wrap. (I never understand why organic delivery services use cling wrap. But that’s a topic for another day.) Needless to say, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, so off it went into the crisper. Where it stayed. For a while.
If you know me, you know that I am a big advocate of zero waste. I simply can’t stand throwing out food and can’t really remember when I last threw out food. Being a scientist at heart and pained by the sight of the poor cabbage in my fridge, I started doing my research. And while I was doing this, I started to fall in love with this unsightly and slightly smelly vegetable.
Cabbage has been consumed by many cultures of the world for thousands of years, and for very good reason. It is high in vitamin C to boost your immunity in the colder months, It is linked to the prevention of type 2 diabetes, boasts a number of antioxidants great for cardiovascular health, and provides an array of other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, B6, B1, B2, phosphorus, maganese, potassium, magnesium and calcium, to name just a few. It is a great source of fiber and with its hearty, pasta-like texture, it provides comfort at virtually zero calories, so it is a great weightloss food!
Needless to say, this stew is ridiculously easy to make, a great way to rescue slowly dying veggies from your fridge and it is very cheap too!
Warming Winter Cabbage Stew
4 green onions, cut in small rings (white and light green part only)
3 gloves garlic, minced
half a drumhead cabbage, shredded into bite-sized pieces
4 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
a quarter pumpkin, cut into bize-sized pieces
4 medium potatoes, cut into bize-sized pieces
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tin diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
additional spices such as chili, cayenne pepper, or curry powder to taste
Throw the washed and prepared vegetables into a large stockpot or cast-iron pot, Cover with stock, tomatoes and spices, stir well, cover, and cook for about 45 to 60 minutes until potatoes, pumpkin and cabbage are tender. Adjust the spices and serve or keep in the fridge for a few days.